Cost: Cheap/Moderate (See my bill at the bottom)
The Chicken Shop menu is simple, unfussy, geared towards an easy dining experience and written on the wall (so don’t look like a twat by asking for one). The place is set in a trio of eateries comprising of Pizza East, Dirty Burger (also owned by Soho House) and itself; all interlinked to make up a small corner on Highgate Road. Hype surrounding this place extends well beyond the UK (according to a friend from Korea) but I can’t exactly understand why (great marketing I guess). Yes, the chicken is better than average, but it is after all just rotisserie chicken presented in a dimly lit and loud atmosphere (trendy, right?).
After hearing of the supposed greatness of this place from several people, I came away a tad disappointed. I expected to have moist, flavourful flesh and crispy crackling skin. While the bird was juicy, the skin was soft and chewy much like a wet noodle. The spices they use work well, but merely sit on top of the skin,the flavour not penetrating the flesh at all. However, the bird was well seasoned (but, I occasionally chanced on a mouthful of salt where it had collected in the corners), and perfectly cooked. Considering that a whole chicken costs £15, it’s big and could satisfy a party of four average eaters (with sides). Sides were okay…you have a choice of four (corn cob, chips, coleslaw or salad).
What does really piss me off though, is that this place does not take bookings (the same way Meat Liquor tormented me). It is not a big place and it is popular, so a table for four is bound to involve a 30 minute or more wait. Get there any later (post 8pm for dinner on a weekday), you might as well “foxtrot oscar” elsewhere; best to get in early. And my last two old man gripes, which aren’t actually that bad, are that it’s a bit dark and is too loud! For the romantics among us, it may work well for a date, as long as you don’t really want to hear your date or see your food. Actually, these are all the same gripes I had with Meat Liquor.
See what I meant, when I said “dim”…what can this be? It’s the slaw. Of the sides, this was probably my fave. It was light, crunchy, not overly mayo’d and a little tart. That mess on the right is the chicken, chunky cut.